How I found my mission in three kinda-easy steps

Ribbons on a name tag read, "Speaker. Know-it-all."

Do I really have to know it all? Or would it be better to pick a specific and narrow mission?


Because I have a pretty specific mission, people have asked me how I decided on it and my niche. So here’s a little of that story.

Finding my mission was about taking away, not adding to. I had lots of overlapping circles of topics, areas of interest, markets. Some of my circles were rural, entrepreneurs, tourism, small business, and economic development. Then there were other topics that intersect to some degree, so I have some interest in them, but they aren’t my primary things. These were the related rural issues, like rural healthcare, community development, rural education, infrastructure, local government, etc. They are vital and important to small towns and rural places, but not my key areas.

I kept drawing more and more overlapping circles and thinking, this is a lot to try to be an expert on. And here is the breakthrough moment: I realized I don’t have to be it all. I do my part, and that is all.

When I help rural entrepreneurs prosper, then they will use their resources to help their small towns prosper. They will be the ones to tackle healthcare and education and the specific issues and needs in their town.

I ran my new pared-down mission past a few well-chosen friends. They pushed back against my specialization. I should be the one-stop resource for everything small town, they said. But I felt so calm and happy with my more specific mission that I stood firm. I know that this felt right. And I’ve stuck with it for years now. It’s just as relevant to me today as it was when I discovered it in 2010.

So for those of you still looking for your own mission, here are the three steps I’d recommend you take.

Step 1. Draw the areas that interest you, and show their overlap or relationships.

Step 2. Keep taking things away until you find the point where you have the most leverage.

Step 3. Focus on how you help others to better solve their own problems.

I can’t guarantee those three steps will magically reveal your own mission, but they were helpful for me.

If you’ve found your own mission, what steps did you follow? Hit reply or add a comment and I’ll share your thoughts with everyone.


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About Becky McCray

Becky started Small Biz Survival in 2006 to share rural business and community building stories and ideas with other small town business people. She and her husband own a retail liquor store in Alva, Oklahoma, and a small cattle ranch nearby. Becky is an international speaker on small business.

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  1. Stephanie Ward says

    I think your mission is extremely powerful and inspiring, I don’t think it’s too narrow at all. It doesn’t prohibit you from commenting and participating in discussions on topics that are in related circles. And the steps you suggest are practical and insightful, I especially like the focus on the biggest point of leverage. Thank you again for sharing your wisdom and being a thought leader.